Saudi authorities have questioned 208 people in an anti-corruption investigation and estimate at least $100 billion has been stolen through graft, a top official said on Thursday as the inquiry expanded beyond the kingdom’s borders.
“Based on our investigations over the past three years, we estimate that at least $100 billion has been misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades,” Attorney-General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said in a statement.
Of the 208 people called in for questioning so far, seven have been released without charge, Sheikh Saud said, without naming them.
Dozens of princes, senior officials and prominent businessmen, including cabinet ministers and billionaires, have been detained in the inquiry, which was announced last weekend and appears at least partly aimed at strengthening the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The investigation has spread to the neighbouring United Arab Emirates, as the UAE central bank has asked commercial banks and finance companies there to provide details of the accounts of 19 Saudis, commercial bankers told Reuters on Thursday.